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Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Interchangeable Lens Review

Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro Interchangeable Lens Review - Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro test

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Di
Price : £365
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Tamron 90mm Macro DIThis lens is Tamron’s contender in the useful area of 100mm Macro lenses. Nearly all of the major camera and third party lens manufacturers produce a lens in this category so this lens is up against some stiff competition. It is Tamron’s re-vamped for digital version and here we take a look at how it stacks up.

Specification

  • Focal Length 90mm
  • Aperture f/2.8 (Actually reads f/3 in use)
  • Angle of view 27º
  • Filter size 55mm
  • Construction 10/9 elements/groups
  • Focus type AF/MF
  • Closest focus 290mm (1:1)
  • Weight 405g
  • Dimensions 71.5x97mm
  • Mounts available Canon, Nikon (D), Minolta, Pentax (72E).
  • Tripod bush No
  • Price (SRP) £370

Build and Handling
This lens comes boxed and includes lens and mount caps in the package, along with he multi-lingual literature but does not include any sort of case or soft pouch. It is a neat and light lens with a bayonet style hood. Nikon and Pentax fittings have an aperture ring just in front of the mount, which is not required on the Canon or Minolta mounts. Forward of this is a distance window marked with a usable depth-of-field scale. On the left of the barrel is a focus-limiter switch, a twist knob that feels a little flimsy. Most of the remainder of the barrel is taken up by the new focus ring, a push/pull affair with a positive click to change from autofocus to manual. Autofocussing was relatively quick for a dedicated Macro lens and the Limit switch worked on both sides of the stop, limiting from 0.45m to infinity or 0.29m to 0.4m. If you want to photograph something between 0.4m and 0.45m you will have to use the ‘full’ setting! These limits improved the autofocus even further.

The finish is a semi-mat black that looks quite smart. I would probably worry about the strength of the plastic lens hood if it was swinging over my shoulder but the on the whole the light weight of the lens will be a bonus for some.

Optical Quality
This lens is the upgraded ‘Di’ (digitally integrated) version of Tamron’s well-established marque that has already achieved a good reputation. They have changed the coating to minimise reflections from the sensor as well as the improved focussing switch. The performance did not disappoint, save for the minor niggle that the peak figures were reached almost wide open, whereas macro photography by its very nature requires some serious stopping down. This does, however, make it a very handy, available light, portrait lens.

Colour and contrast were conveyed well and chromatic aberrations, though present, were not too much of a problem, managing to stay just inside acceptable limits.

1/250sec at f/8 and excellent performance. At a peak of f/5.6 there is not a great depth-of-field. 1/30sec at 1:1

 


Click on each of these two comparison photos to view full size versions

Below is our lens test data. To find out how to use this graph look at this article: How we test lenses

Verdict
This lens will not disappoint you with its sharpness, which is a match for its competition especially wide open. The lens actually read out as f/3 wide open which is not quite ‘what it says on the tin’, loosing almost a third of a stop but does come in straight away with good resolution figures. The weight does not inspire the confidence to go scrambling through undergrowth in search of targets with the camera on your shoulder, but looked after should prove a capable tool. Conversely, it proved light and easy to use, especially in small hands. (My wife’s, not mine!)

In summary the main positive points of the Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro are:
Focussing speed (for a macro)
Performance wide open
Lightweight

Negative points are:
Build quality not quite as robust as some.
Peak in wrong place for Macro (but great for portraiture)

Check the latest price of the Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro here and help support the site.

Test by Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.co.uk

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Comments


21 Apr 2007 6:02AM
When I compare the picture of the door taken with this lens, it is tack sharp. All of the other lenses seem to have a double image along the edge of the type. Is this lens that much better or did they not use a tripod with every lens?
Jim

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3 Nov 2007 1:27PM
I just bought one and am happy to report that it now comes with a rather nice padded leatherette lens pouch.
YoBellzaa e2
7 224 England
8 Oct 2008 11:22AM
Review amended now as it does come with a case.
17 Oct 2009 12:25AM
Does this work with full-frame as years ago I had the original MINOLTA one and was 52mm filters which allowed me to use my Nikon closeup for even closer focusing etc.

Since my digital toy is PENTAX since Sony had not come out and MINOLTA had stop when my original 7000 died the first true AF SLR and was a wonderful toy which i got for graduation from college and was the days when cameras stayed on the market for a few years over days like they now do.

Have a great weekend, to everyone.
14 Nov 2009 9:54PM
This is an amazing lens, I have had so much fun with it. Follow the url below for pictures I have taken using it.

http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/simon.james.lawrence/Tamrom90mmMacroLens?feat=directlink

Si

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